Internet discussion forums are known to contain many insults veiled to various degrees. So far, no one had used the report feature of the forums -- until now. Therefore, it is time to decide what kind of policy to have concerning the issue. I have previously been a moderator of the then largest internet discussion forum for freethinkers (atheists and the like) named Freeratio.
I can think of various things to moderate:
1. Bot spam.
2. Foul language; swear words.
3. Personal insults.
I think almost everyone agrees that (1) should be moderated. We have in fact several measures against bots installed right now, which seem to be working perfectly.
Some people will want to filter (2). It can be done to various degrees. The least degree would involve only moderating posts that contain no contribution but only swear words. The highest degree would involve automatic filters for all known swear words.
There will be disagreement about what to do about (3) also because people vary in how sensitive they are to insults. Some people hardly ever get insulted, while others get insulted by the slightest remark. The lowest degree of moderation would involve only moderating outright insults like "Fuck you" or "$name is a moron".
Against (3) one may say that the forum software contains the option of blocking people one doesn't like, hiding their posts from vision. People who aren't logged in, however, will see all posts and may get a bad impression if there is a lot of insults thrown around.
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I opt for only moderating outright insults like "Fuck you" or "$name is a moron".
I suggest that we have the same standards for moderating insults that "standard" journals do: in other words, if a remark would be considered extremely poor form if made during "standard" peer review, it should be moderated here.
Some people are very sensitive to these matters. For instance, in Jan and my's submission to Intell we had to change a remark about how Headstart had been a waste of money. The goal of Headstart (as obvious from the name) is to boost the mental test and academic performance of the subjects. In this it has utterly failed. It is no small amount of money per year that has been wasted towards this goal.
Based on meta-analytical data and employment of the method of correlated vectors we showed that there is a strong and negative correlation of Headstart gains with g. Headstart programs can raise IQ test scores successfully, but not general mental ability per se. If Headstart programs were only meant to raise g, an astonishingly large amount of money has been wasted that could have perhaps been put to good use for raising the quality of life for low-SES children.
The method is clear and analyses appear sound. However, the authors employ
language that is a bit inflammatory in discussing the significance of their results. Early
intervention programs are meant to increase intelligence--and some argue other socially
desirable outcomes like adequate nutrition, self-care skills, social skills, etc.--which they
do. That those IQ gains need to be on the general factor as opposed to test specific
variance in order to be worth the investment is open for debate. To further call such
efforts “an astonishingly large amount of money...wasted” (p. 16) is unnecessary. The
research here is interesting enough without the attack.